Colorado defenseman Joey Cupido advancing to the finals of the 2015 NLL Transition Player of the Year was no surprise. After having a standout season with the Mammoth, there is not another more deserving player in the league to be granted this honor than Cupido.
Cupido was a fifth-round pick, No. 38 overall in the NLL Entry Draft, in 2011. He attended McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, his hometown, where he doubled-up on college athletics. He played lacrosse and was a cornerback for the McMaster Marauder’s football team. He was named a first-team All-Canadian but missed a majority of the 2013 season due to injury in the season opener, as reported by CIS Football.
Unlike most American college athletes, Cupido was able to finish out his college career (playing football) while turning pro (in lacrosse) in the meantime. The same year Cupido was injured in football, he excelled in the Colorado. He was named to the NLL All-Rookie Team as told by coloradomammoth.com.
2015 has proved to be his best season to date. Cupido caused 40 turnovers, had 16 goals and 31 points, twice the total of any other defender, had a .372 shooting percentage, which led the league among all players in double-digit scoring, and probably most impressive, he had two hat tricks in one season.
Insidelacrosse.com had their own vote in May of who is worthy of the 2015 NLL Transition Player of the year, and the vote was unanimous. Out of 7 judges, on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale, Cupido scored a 35. The closest competitor was Brodie Merrill who scored a 16. They all had very good reasons for why Cupido was the standout of the award.
“In a year when transition scoring was down, Cupido scored 16 and 31 points in 18 games and was electrifying. His solid defense, blazing speed and great stick make him the definition of what you want in a transition player. He’s fun to watch and his secondary scoring is a boon for his team,” said Ty Pilson of insidelacrosse.com.
Cupido joins Calgary’s Karsen Leung and Toronto’s Brodie Merrill in the final vote but if the brains of insidelacrosse.com have any indication of how the results will toss up in September, 2015 will really be quite the standout year for Cupido.
Sabrina Naccarato, an intern at Mile High Sports and student at MSU-Denver, contributed to this report